Celia Mennen Marks, whose cooking columns found a following even among non-cooks because of her personal anecdotes and insights into human nature, died Sept. 7, 2005, at her home in Cherokee Village. She was 98.
She was born Dec. 14, 1906, in Chatanooga, Tenn., to Ephriam and Naomi Atlas Mennen. She married Louis B. Marks in 1935 in Chattanooga. They had been married 50 years when he died in 1985.
Marks wrote a cooking column, "Let's Cook," for the Cherokee Villager (predecessor to the Villager Journal) in the mid-1990s, and in recent years she co-wrote another cooking column, "Come Into Our Kitchen," for the Villager with writer Barbara Massie of Cherokee Village. He columns also appeared in Aging Arkansas until the time of her death.
Before moving to Cherokee Village, Marks was food editor of the Chattanooga Times in Tennessee for eight years. A collection of her cooking columns was compiled into an aptly titled cookbook, Come Into My Kitchen, which was so popular it went into 13 printings. She also wrote the Southern Living Party Cookbook, and at the time of her death Marks was working on a third cookbook with co-writer Barbara Massie.
Marks was an art collector and voracious reader who never lost her zest for life, her innate curiosity and her eagerness for learning.
She founded The Plum Nelly Shop, a gallery in Chattanooga specializing in original artwork and handmade crafts. For her shop patrons, she wrote a monthly newsletter, The Crafty Cook, which continued for 16 years.
After attending Peabody College in Nashville, Marks' early careers included work with the Tennessee Valley Authority and free-lance writing for advertising and radio.
In 1994 Marks relocated to Arkansas to be near her daughter, Sidney Nisbet, at which time she resumed her writing with columns in the Villager and Aging Arkansas.
She was a charter member of the Spring River Branch of the National League of American Pen Women, a member of Cherokee Village Writers and Friends of the (Sharp County) Library.
Marks was preceded in death by her husband, Louis, and one daughter, Judith Ann.
She leaves behind a daughter, Sidney, and her husband, Robb, Nisbet of Cherokee Village; and a host of friends in Arkansas and Tennessee.
The funeral was held Sept. 9, with burial in Mizpah Cemetery in Chattanooga. Local arrangements were by Heath Funeral Home Oak Hill Chapel.
Memorials may be made to Global Hope, P.O. Box 3087, Waco, TX 76707 for the Celia Marks First Responders Fund.